PRS CEO disputes claim that protecting creators’ copyright online will damage internet

prs ceo robert ashcroft

Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music’s chief executive, has hit out at major internet service providers which claim the EU Copyright Directive will ‘lead to the end of the internet as we know it’.

In an opinion piece today (Wednesday), he said: ‘Given the cataclysmic nature of their predictions you would have thought that the share prices of some of the major players would have been in freefall as a result [of proposed changes to EU copyright law]. But that is patently not the case.’

Ashcroft made the comments as MEPs go to vote in Brussels on amendments to the Copyright Directive, which could help address concerns by music-makers and rightsholders that current legislation is not fit for the internet age.

He added: ‘Streaming now dominates the consumption of music, which is more popular now than it has ever been, but there is a dark side to this story: the creators of all this growth are only seeing a fraction of it because user upload platforms refuse to pay a reasonable rate for the creative material they host, compared to the value they derive from it.

‘YouTube is the largest provider of online music in the world; its business model is inextricably tied up with that of its parent, Google/Alphabet, which has a market capitalisation of $850bn £653bn).

‘And YouTube alone is worth $75bn, yet they pay one of the lowest pay per stream rates in the sector. Given this, perhaps it is not surprising that YouTube and Google are leading the resistance to the proposed Copyright Directive.

‘The fact is that if all internet platforms paid fairly for the content they monetise so successfully, we would all be better off.’

Read the full opinion piece. Learn more about the Copyright Directive, which goes to plenary vote at 1pm Central European Time.